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Host Defense Peptide Expression in Human Cervical Cells and Regulation by 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 in the Presence of Cytokines and Bacterial Endotoxin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1217
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date5 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2017


King's Authors


Host defense peptides (HDPs) in the pregnant female reproductive tract provide protection against infection. The relationship between HDPs and infection/inflammation is poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated the regulation of HDPs by 1α, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25-(OH)2) in the presence/absence of infectious/inflammatory agents. Endocervical epithelial cells (END1/E6E7, n = 6) were exposed to 1,25-(OH)2, calcipotriol, interleukin 1β (IL-1β), granulate-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-GSF), and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Elafin, human beta defensin (hBD2), cathelicidin, secretory leucocyte protease inhibitor, interleukin 8, 1,25-(OH)2 receptor, and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) expression was determined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and/or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Host defense peptide gene and protein expression was assessed in cervicovaginal cells/fluid, respectively, from first trimester pregnant women (n = 8-12). Interleukin 1β induced elafin and hBD2. The 1,25-(OH)2 induced cathelicidin expression in the presence of IL-1β and LPS. The 1,25-(OH)2 also attenuated IL-1β-induced IL-8 expression and LPS enhancement of TLR4. Host defense peptides and TLR4 profiles in cervicovaginal cells and fluid samples from pregnant women were similar to END1/E6E7 cells. In conclusion, HDPs are differentially regulated in END1/E6E7 cells. The 1,25-(OH)2 induction of cathelicidin and suppression of IL-8 highlights a mechanism by which 1,25-(OH)2 supplementation could enhance the pregnant innate immune defenses.

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